## Wednesday, July 18, 2012

### Conversion

How many miles are in a kilometer? Or is it how many kilometers are in a mile? I can never remember. I know, it's embarrassing.

But it's not my fault! I just happen to be from a country that doesn't use the metric system.  One of only THREE nations in the world not measuring metrically by the way (the other two are Liberia and Myanmar/Burma).

I do know, however, after this past weekend, that a kilometer feels like a lot longer than a mile.

Saturday, I went zip-lining through the cloud forest canopy. This, for me, was terrifying. The zip-line course is basically a series of cables running in between different metal towers all of which look like they are just kind of resting against trees. You stand on a tower, trying not to look down, for what seems like hours, waiting for your turn to get called over by the dude who is going to take literally 5 seconds hooking your metal clamp (you know, the one hanging from the fancy cloth diaper you're wearing) onto the next cable and pushing you out into the open air where you will again, zip through the treetops and try not to throw up. Thrilling, really. Most of these cables were short in length and while, of course, high up in the air, they were at least within a reasonable distance from the ground. Yes, I was in the treetops, but trees are rooted in the ground, right? Somehow, psychologically, I think this helped. The last cable, however - it was so far above the treetops that I felt like I was in a damn airplane. It was also - yup - one full kilometer in length. I thought I would never see the landing tower. I thought I wouldn't survive.

But I did.

And so the next day I decided to walk to town. No biggie, right? Except town is something like TWELVE  kilometers mostly straight up one of the steepest hills I've ever climbed. I was motivated partly by the amazing views and partly by the idea of eating lunch at a sushi restaurant - which ended up being closed. So I got a coffee and turned around to start my journey back home. I walked many more kilometers until reaching a pizza restaurant where I treated myself to 3/4 of a pizza pie. By the time I got to the start of the ridiculously steep hill,  the idea of my knees making it all the way down was less-than-pleasant. Luckily, in that moment, one of the guys that works in the kitchen here rode by on his motorcycle and gave me a ride. Which was great, except zipping down that hill on the back of a tiny moto was nearly as terrifying as zipping though the trees... but at least it took a few kilometers off my walk.

**Update** - I just asked someone and apparently it is only seven kilometers to town. I'm telling you, kilometers just feel really long. (This assessment has nothing to do with the fact that my experience with this metric unit of distance has occurred while either exhausted or scared out of my mind. I swear.)